Today, on the heels of Align With Your Creativity’s The Sunday Conversation, I’ve rounded up four ways that gamification has helped shape the way we choose to live:

1. Motivate

A recent MIT study, “Bridging Gamification and Human Reasoning: The Power of Enthusiasm,” found that one of the hardest things to motivate people to use technology is to explain how doing so can improve their lives.

As such, gamification has emerged as a way to make concepts like learning, or saving for retirement, easier to understand. Recently, CNN reported that mobile game maker Ontwive has created an app that is designed to help users learn how to repair their car without being intimidated by the process.

Museumitum, a website that helps users find unique retail experiences, allows users to invest money in different virtual retail brands. Meanwhile, business analytics software provider Jolicloud has helped Amazon recommend a book to its readers based on what e-readers they own, and the site partners with local businesses to create store profiles tailored to users’ preferences.

As creator and expert Derrick Gordon explained, “[T]he service can not only select related books to read, but can even order shopping carts from retailers near a user’s current location. The feature uses real-time data to compare their location with other users’. By using a comparison database, the service is able to immediately display relevant recommendations based on their user’s previous shopping habits.”

2. Automate and Focus

The more tasks people focus on, the more time they have for other tasks.

The same is true for our mental capacity. And the more we can automate certain tasks (or add other, distracting tasks into the mix), the more time we can allocate to doing other things.

That is one of the main ways that productivity software giant Smartsheet has applied the power of gamification.

The company offers “10 Percenters,” which allows teams to set aside 10 percent of their time to collaborate on tasks that they want done in the next five weeks.

The game helps by providing an easy-to-use dashboard that helps teams manage and track their new tasks and priorities. All of the key activity items are “carded” and will become visible in the weekly progress report.

This gaming approach has also played a role in helping people start to open up their work routines, according to studies by the International Work and Life Institute, and The David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah.

3. Support personal growth

Because gamification typically has a long learning curve before it produces results, it is typically turned on for six-to-12 months, sometimes longer. As such, the power of the stick is essential to its success.

That’s why gamification can work even better if it’s provided by a therapist, coach, or other professional trained in its use, according to the Emory University School of Management. Gamification, for the most part, does not involve keeping score or counting points. A gamified solution relies more on people participating in a series of actions — both negative and positive — that help them create valuable rewards for themselves.

Regardless of how long you’ve invested in the process, if you have joined Gamify and left, hopefully you will feel a sense of accomplishment, even if it is a little abstract, or you will still have games to play and learning experiences to gain valuable advice from.

When it comes to human behavior, some people need to get a little more bang for their buck. Why not turn your life into a game?

We are at the very beginning of a gamification revolution, but there is a lot to learn if we want to apply it in our daily lives. If you’d like to be the first to know about how you can gamify your life, stop by Align With Your Creativity for some of the top ways you can challenge yourself and become more successful.

This post was written by Sarah K. White and originally published on The Align With Your Creativity blog. Follow Sarah on Twitter: .